4 Architectural Design Forthcoming Titles November/December 2008 Neoplasmatic Design Guest–edited by Marcos Cruz and Steve Pike Investigating the current groundswell of experiments and creative work that utilises design as a method to explore and manipulate actual biological material, Neoplasmatic Design presents the impact of emerging and progressive biological advances upon architectural and design practice. The rapid development of innovative design approaches in the realms of biology, microbiology, biotechnol- ogy, medicine and surgery have immense significance for architecture, being as important for their cultural and aesthetic impact as for their technical implications. • Featured architects include Peter Cook, Tobias Klein, Kol/Mac, MAKE, R&Sie, Neil Spiller and VenhoevenCS. • Longer contributions from medical practitioners, architects and artists: Rachel Armstrong, Marcos Cruz, Anthony Dunne, Nicola Haines, Steve Pike, Yukihiko Sugawara, and Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr/SymbioticA. • Features international research projects undertaken at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, the Royal College of Art in London, the University of Western Australia and the Nagaoka Institute of Design in Japan. January/February 2009 Theoretical Meltdown Guest-edited by Luigi Prestinenza Puglisi If the 20th century can be characterised by theories and manifestoes, which emanated across every sphere of life from politics to the fine arts, the beginning of the 21st century can be distinguished by its very break from theory. This effective ‘theoretical meltdown’ has manifested itself in a period of uncertainty, which can be perceived in the way disciplines coalesce with each other and blur their parameters: fine art becoming indistinct from advertising imagery; architecture incorporating commu- nication techniques; and sculpture dealing with living spaces; while architecture reshapes fragments of the natural environment. • The issue topically calls the contemporary situation in architecture to account. • Features writings by and interviews with some of the most remarkable protagonists of the debate: Ole Bouman, Ricardo Diller & Elizabeth Scofidio, Neil Leach, Bernard Tschumi and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. • Acts as a barometer to architectural design, inviting 10 international critics to highlight the most relevant current work. March/April 2009 Closing the Gap: Information Models in Contemporary Design Practice Guest-edited by Richard Garber By closing the gap between conceptual design and the documentation required for construction, Building Information Models (BIMs) promise to revolutionise contemporary design practice. This issue of AD brings together a group of pioneering academics, architects, engineers and construction man- agers all of whom are engaged in the use of BIMs in the actualisation of complex building projects, from design stage to construction. Key texts trace the development of building information modelling technologies and address issues of collaboration, design and management, while featured projects systematise the use of BIMs in contemporary design practice for students and professionals alike faced with considering these tools within the changing marketplace. • Covers a key area of technological development: BIM systems that span the gap between the design and construction processes. • Key contributions from: Chuck Eastman, Cynthia Ottchen at OMA and Dennis Shelden of Gehry Technologies. • Features work by: Asymptote, Gauthier Architects, KieranTimberlake Associates, Morphosis and SHoP Architects.
4 Architectural Design Backlist TitlesVolume 76 No. 1 ISBN 047001623X Volume 76 No. 2 ISBN 0470015292 Volume 76 No. 3 ISBN 0470018399 Volume 76 No. 4 ISBN 0470025859Volume 76 No. 5 ISBN 0470026529 Volume 76 No. 6 ISBN 0470026340 Volume 77 No. 1 ISBN 0470029684 Volume 77 No. 2 ISBN 0470034793Volume 77 No. 3 ISBN 0470031891 Volume 77 No. 4 ISBN 978 0470319116 Volume 77 No. 5 ISBN 978 0470028377 Volume 77 No. 6 ISBN 978 0470034767Volume 78 No. 1 ISBN 978 0470066379 Volume 78 No. 2 ISBN 978 0470516874 Volume 78 No. 3 ISBN 978 0470512548 Volume 78 No. 4 ISBN 978 0470519479Individual backlist issues of 4 are available for purchaseat £22.99/US$45. To order and subscribe for 2008 see page 136.
4Architectural DesignSeptember/October 2008 New Urban China Guest-edited by Laurence Liauw IN THIS ISSUE Main Section ROLL OVER REM Jiang Jun, Editor-in-Chief of Urban China magazine, and Kuang Xiaoming classify the Chinese city for the 21st century. P 16 VILLAGE PEOPLE Yushi Uehara from the Berlage Institute and Meng Yan of URBANUS explore the Village in the City phenomenon. PP 52 & 56 ECO EDGE Helen Castle of AD gets the low-down on the flagship eco-city of Dongtan from Peter Head, Director and Head of Global Planning at Arup. P 64 4+ NEW PHILOSOPHY Jayne Merkel reviews Steven Holl’s innovative intervention for the Department of Philosophy at New York University in Greenwich Village. P 100+ THE TECTONIC ILLUSTRATOR Howard Watson features CJ Lim, one of architecture’s greatest contemporary visionaries, in the Practice Profile. P 110+
4+64 100 128Dongtan, Chinas Flagship Interior Eye Yeang’s Eco-FilesEco-City: An Interview with Steven Holl’s NYU Philosophy EcomasterplanningPeter Head of Arup Jayne Merkel Ken YeangHelen Castle 104 13270 Building Profile Spiller’s BitsAfter China: The World? The Bluecoat Drawing StrengthThree Perspectives on a David Littlefield From MachineryCritical Question Neil SpillerKyong Park, Laurence Liauw 110and Doreen Heng Liu Practice Profile 134 CJ Lim/Studio 8 Architects: McLean’s Nuggets82 Through the Looking Glass Will McLeanEmerging Chinese Howard WatsonArchitectural PracticeUnder Development 118MADA s.p.a.m. Architecture in China and theURBANUS Architecture & Meaning of ModernDesign Edward DenisonAtelier Zhangleistandardarchitecture 124MAD UserscapeLaurence Liauw Light: Between Architecture and Event94 Valentina CrociChronology of MainGovernment Policies AffectingUrbanisation in China:1970–2007Compiled by Sun Shiwen
Editorial Beijing, or the great swathes of standardised mega-city housing blocks that are being constructed across the country; there is a new talented generation of indigenous architects emerging who, having been educated at top institutions overseas, are now determined to build Helen Castle innovatively at home (see pp 82–93). Such unprecedented urban expansion inevitably guzzles resources and it is this that makes extensive construction a global concern, with China buying up naturalEvery title of AD brings with it new discoveries and minerals, building materials and fuels around the world. It alsorevelations. However, never has a single issue shifted my presents a challenge to the international status quo, and anticipates aworldview and perceptions so much. China’s geography future with China having a far greater influence on the world politicallyand demographics alone require a different mindset. and economically, whether it is the mode in which cities and buildingsChina may have a slightly smaller landmass than the US are produced or the source of their investment.(3.7 million to its 3.8 million square miles), but the US’s The velocity of change in China is such that, as this issue closes, it ispopulation is diminutive when compared to that of China: very apparent that recent events could well shift the pattern andChina has over a third more people. For those of us who momentum of urban development. Construction has been matched byhave lived most of our lives on an overcrowded northern devastation: the May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province leftEuropean island, the scale of China is difficult to grasp. thousands dead and homeless and has required the government toIt is, however, the rate and intensity of urban change in focus on the building of new infrastructure and housing in affectedChina over the last three decades that make it truly areas. More than anything, though, the continuing rate of urbanisationunprecedented. At a time when a 15-hectare (38-acre) in China rests on a burgeoning economy. With the onset of the creditsite, like that at Battersea Power Station, has proved a crunch in the US, and widespread talk of recession in the West, isstumbling block for developers in London, 95 per cent of China’s exponential growth sustainable? Is it not conceivable that the 1Beijing’s buildings have been razed and replaced. Speed factory of the world will be affected by the economic downturnand size of construction alone are awe-inspiring, bringing elsewhere? I put this question to Joe Studwell, author and ex-Editor ofwith them unique opportunities to build. These are not China Economic Quarterly. His belief is that to some extent China willjust the much-publicised flagship icons by foreign be supported by its extensive internal market: ‘China’s net exports canarchitects such as Herzog & de Meuron’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ fall quite a lot without a major impact on overall growth,’ but thatOlympic Stadium and Rem Koolhaas’ CCTV Tower in demographics and labour supply will be key to longer-term growth.2 Li4
Introduction‘Leaping Forward,Getting Rich Gloriously,and Letting a 1Hundred Cities Bloom’ By Laurence Liauw The urbanisation of the Pearl River Delta (the fastest in China) has been driven primarily by the development of mono-type ‘factory towns’ catering for products ‘Made in China’. These factory towns house mainly migrant workers, and follow a repetitive pattern of self- organised urban development and generic buildings.China’s rapid urbanisation is mirrored by Shenzhen city’s genesisand growth around the border area (with Hong Kong) of Lowu, agroup of fishing villages of little more than 30,000 people in thelate 1970s to today’s population of more than 12 million. Deng Xiaoping, the late leader of the Communist Party of China, during his landmark visit to Shenzhen SEZ in 1982. Here he is shown with other officials inspecting the new masterplan for Shenzhen that was to trigger rapid urbanisation for the next seven years.
Full Speed Ahead in the South The booming transformation of cities has totally reconfiguredThis year marks the thirtieth anniversary of market- the nation’s metropolises and the urban life of its people.oriented economic reform in China, which has resulted in Shenzhen, which is on the Southern China coast adjacent to Hongurbanisation on a massive scale: the urbanisation rate Kong, was the prototype SEZ. It acted as an urban laboratory, farrising from 20 per cent in 1980 to currently over 44 per enough from Beijing to either succeed or fail. A tabula rasa, itcent, with more than 400 million people moving to cities grew from scratch; a mere group of fishing villages of 30,000from rural areas.2 The process was kick-started in 1978 people in the late 1970s, its population has increased 400-foldby Deng Xiaoping’s Open Door Policy, which committed since the 1980s.4 The chaotic urbanisation of the PRD, SouthernChina to adopting policies that promoted foreign trade China’s factory belt, was first introduced to Western audiences asand economic investment. It was launched during his first a cluster of ‘cities of exacerbated differences’ (COEDs) by Remtour of Southern China, and resulted in five Special Koolhaas in his 2001 book Great Leap Forward,5 which was basedEconomic Zones (SEZs) being established between 1980 on fieldwork undertaken with Harvard Graduate School of Designand 1984 at: Shantou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai in the students in 1996 (see pp 60–3, Zhi Wenjun and Liu Yuyang,coastal region of Guangdong Province; Xiamen on the ‘Post-Event Cities’; and pp 98–81, Doreen Heng Liu, ‘After thecoast in Fujian Province; and the entire island province of Pearl River Delta: Exporting the PRD – A View from the Ground’).Hainan. These SEZ cities in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) The PRD has since become a role model for major regionalhave become arguably China’s greatest contemporary developments elsewhere in China, most notably areas such as theurban invention, achieving rapid economic growth with Yangtze River Delta around Shanghai and the Bohai Bay regionGDP of over 13 per cent per annum since 1996.3 around Beijing and Tianjin.7
This euphoria for industry-driven urbanisation has Kuang Xiaoming, ‘The Taxonomy of Contemporary Chinese Citiesrecently spilled over into countries outside China, such as (We Make Cities: A Sampling’) reveals the sociocultural sideIndia, Africa, Vietnam and Russia (see pp 74–7, Laurence effects of urbanisation on various sectors of Chinese society andLiauw, ‘Exporting China’). Certain political road bumps the type of urban processes that actually determine the physicalsuch as the 1989 student protests tempered China’s manifestation of the majority of cities.march for economic reform and urbanisation, but Dengagain ignited another sustained construction boom with ‘Destroy the Old to Establish the New’his second tour of Southern China in 1992, coupled this Chairman Mao’s famous political slogan of 1966 during thetime with sweeping changes in land reforms and a Cultural Revolution, urging China to rapidly industrialise, withbudding real-estate market (see pp 22–5 and pp 32–5, somewhat disastrous consequences such as widespread famine, isSun Shiwen, ‘The Institutional and Political Background now being re-enacted literally in a very different guise in this era ofto Chinese Urbanisation’, and Zhang Jie, ‘Urbanisation in market reforms that has spawned hundreds of new Chinese cities.China in the Age of Reform’). Since 1998, another revolution has been taking place in which new With the growth of urban wealth, ‘Made in China for ‘commodified’ private housing for the masses has been replacingexport’ has become ‘Made in China from elsewhere’, with state-subsidised housing provided by work units, paralleled inproducts being produced abroad for domestic commercial sectors by the decline in state-owned industries andconsumption in China, especially in terms of the the rise of privately owned manufacturing. Since the early 1990s,production of urban space, assemblage of raw materials sweeping economic and land reforms have triggered one of theand consumption of energy (see pp 72–3, Kyong Park, biggest real-estate booms in history: according to recent surveys by‘The End of Capitalist Utopia?’). The scale and speed of the Sohu.com website, real estate has become the most profitablenew urban China’s construction boom has been widely industry in China with more than RMB2.5 trillion currentlydocumented in terms of its spectacular magnitude and invested. Cities already account for 75 per cent of China’s GDP andarchitectural variety – according to the Ministry of this is expected rise to 90 per cent by 20258 (see also pp 20–5,Construction, China plans to build 2 billion square Sun Shiwen, and pp 26–31, Huang Weiwen, ‘Urbanisation inmetres (21.5 billion square feet) each year (half that of Contemporary China Observed: Dramatic Changes andthe world total), is already using up to 26 per cent of the Disruptions’), determining much of the new physical appearance of 6world’s crude steel and 47 per cent of its cement, and China’s major cities with both generic and spectacular architecture.will have built 80 billion square metres (861.1 square Typically architecture is produced either via direct commissions forfeet) of new housing by 2010.7 Jiang Jun’s general standard generic buildings or through international designtaxonomy of city types (see pp 16–21, Jiang Jun and competitions for iconic buildings.
Compared to the newly built commerce- andmanufacturing-based towns, mature historical cities thathave an older urban fabric are not faring so well. They arerapidly being destroyed on a large scale to make way fornew developments. This erasure of entire sections of citiessuch as Beijing, where varying reports of anything between300,000 and 1.5 million people have been displaced for 9the 2008 Olympics, and Shanghai in preparation formega-events (see pp 60–3, Zhi Wenjun and Liu Yuyang) isalso driven by profitable generic developments yielding taxincome to the authorities (see pp 22–5, Sun Shiwen).Mckinsey Global Institute estimates that over the pastdecade land sales have contributed to more than 60 per 10cent of some Chinese cities’ annual income. Rocketingland prices have prompted urban renewal and thedestruction of the vernacular building fabric, which isoften several hundreds of years old, while also causing themass displacement of established communities from theirnatural habitats to new suburban areas. The effects of thisbrutal displacement have been compounded by evictionand insufficient compensation, triggering much socialunrest, as witnessed typically by the persistent existenceof ‘nail houses’ on demolition sites where occupiers areresisting relocation (see pp 44–7, Wang Jun, ‘The “People’sCity”’). Destruction of old communities and a tight-kniturban fabric call into question the nature and effectivenessof the newly created public spaces that have replacedtraditional streets in Chinese cities, raising the questionas to their long-term contribution to People’s Cities (seepp 48–51, Shi Jian, ‘Street Life and the “People’s City”’).Chairman Mao’s famous 1966 slogan ‘Destroy the The rapid transformation of major cities such asold to establish the new’ is being re-enacted Shanghai (top image) means the vernacular buildingliterally in a different guise as entire historic fabric coexists alongside new generic globalised towersneighbourhoods (such as Pudong, shown here) are in a seemingly chaotic agglomeration. In Beijing (bottomtotally erased to be replaced by new commercial image), many hutongs (narrow lanes lined withdevelopments. Slow infrastructure development traditional courtyard houses) have been demolished formeans that citizens often have to walk to work redevelopment, displacing local communities ahead ofthrough wastelands and construction sites. the Olympics and the vision of a ‘New Beijing’.Destruction of old communities and a tight-knit urbanfabric call into question the nature and effectiveness of thenewly created public spaces that have replaced traditionalstreets in Chinese cities, raising the question as to theirlong-term contribution to People’s Cities.9
Many major cities now have impressive urban- planning exhibition centres showing huge-scale models of the entire city. Their ambition and surreal quality is matched only by the constantly changing ‘real’ model outside, which sometimes resembles a dystopian vision of instant urbanisation on steroids. Thus the reality of city development often changes faster than the show model can be adjusted. ‘Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics’ and the ‘New Socialist Village’ Market-oriented economics under communist rule is commonly referred to by politicians and economists as ‘Capitalism with Chinese characteristics’. This paradoxical model of the Planned Economy has largely been responsible for instigating the mass migration of villagers to cities and towns seeking work and higher wages. A ‘floating population’ of up to 150 million migrant workers11 is now moving around China without gaining hukou (household resident) status in the cities that they live in (see pp 26–31, Huang Weiwen). These migrant workers are largely employed in the manufacturing and construction industries. As the human force behind the urbanisation process they are its powerhouse, as well as its essential side effect. In the hundreds of factory towns scattered around China’s developing regions, swelling migrant workers form an itinerant urban population and economy all of their own, in populations sometimes totalling a million people. China now has more than 166 cities with populations of at least a million, 12 while the US has only nine such cities. In and around the city, existing farmland and villages have been replaced by areas that have become increasingly high density as farmers have used their land rights to become unlicensed property ‘developers’ building urbanised ‘Villages in the City’ (ViCs) to accommodate incoming migrants (see pp 52–5, Yushi Uehara, ‘Unknown Urbanity; Towards the Village in the City’). The ViC phenomenon has presented a social and planning challenge to the authorities. Though the footprints of the ‘villages’ tend to be small in terms of the city as a whole, their social impact can be enormous. Where ViCs have been relocated to make way for new developments, providing housing for the migrant workers has become a particular problem as few have resident status and are not therefore eligible for social welfare benefits and public housing. The architectural practice URBANUS has conducted four studies of different ViCs in Shenzhen, which has 192 ViCs in total. These represent individual design proposals and a new housing type for low-income workers, which is economic in its construction while also providing social amenities thatUrban villages (previously farmland) spring up withincities as high-density settlements that attract migrant are reminiscent of the 1950s People’s Communes (see pp 56–9, Mengworkers. In 2005 the local authorities demolished one of Yan, ‘Urban Villages’). So much tension exists in this urban contextShenzhen’s 192 urban villages (shown here). Social where there is often conflict between the drive to gentrify old districtsdisplacement remains a serious challenge for society, aswitnessed during the 2008 snowstorms that created and the need to accommodate migrant rural communities that inhabithuge bottlenecks of migrant workers returning home for the city without resident status or social welfare benefits. In 2005the spring festival at many train stations (such as in central government attempted to address the widening income gap ofGuangzhou, shown here). 1:4 between rural and urban populations13 by launching sympathetic policies proposing the building of ‘New Socialist Villages’ in rural areas to improve the existing social and physical infrastructure (see p 96, Sun Shiwen, Chronology).10
Utopian Dreams and a Society of the SpectacleIn his article ‘Leaving Utopian China’ (pp 36–9), ZhouRong points out that since the classical cities of ancienttimes Chinese society has been plagued by the desire tomodel itself on utopian ideals. This impulse extendsitself to contemporary cities that are modelled on genericdigital PowerPoint visualisations dressed up formarketing and political gain. In some places, thesevisions have manifested themselves in large-scalearchitectural models of an entire city, housed inimpressive planning exhibition centres. The modelsthemselves, however, cannot keep up with the realityoutside on the construction site, which is changing fasterthan the show model can be adapted or modified. The utopian urban model and city reality have a mutualeffect, contributing to the creation of ‘instant cities’ thatare either built on razed grounds or from scratch onagricultural land. Neville Mars conversely argues for therole of utopian dreams in the ‘Chinese dream’ (see pp40–3, Neville Mars ‘The Chinese City, A Self-ContainedUtopia’), although he is also critical of these ambitions tofully urbanise in a single generation. He regardsurbanisation itself as a utopian goal, and the new Chinesecity as a utopian dream to rebuild society, as illustrated bycentral government’s target to build 400 more cities by2020 to achieve an urbanisation rate of 60 per cent fromthe current 44 per cent.14The domestic consumption boom in major cities (for example, inShanghai’s Nanjing Road, shown centre) has spawned new variationsof ‘Chinese contemporary living’ and mutations of imported models ofliving environments and architectural styles. Shanghai’s infamous‘one city nine towns’ urban policy has resulted in the building ofmany culturally dislocated suburban ‘themed towns’.11
Mars also laments the unsustainability of building anddestroying cities every generation with shifting politicalmovements. The new middle-class workers now have newresidential lifestyle aspirations – the most notorious beingShanghai’s ‘one city nine towns’ development – whether itis living in mixed-use Central Business Districts (CBDs) orEuropean-themed suburban villas connected by high-speed bullet trains. These emerging patterns of urbanconsumption indicate just how effective surreal fantasiesand mass spectacle have become as marketing tools forselling generic architecture. However, they also representa deeper-rooted ‘coming out’ of Chinese urban pride thatdemands ever more spectacular and differentarchitectural designs. Event-city spectacles, such as theOlympic facilities in Beijing and entire themed towns,may have a lasting effect in raising the standards ofdesign and construction locally, but they also often have alimited shelf life, and require more sustainablearchitectural design solutions. Should China’s ‘society ofthe spectacle’ be viewing such fantastic and sometimessurreal urban interventions as culturally misaligned orheroic? Or should we be regarding them as the West’ssecret desire to export its urban fantasies abroad, whenthey are unable to fulfil them at home?Resources, Expiry and Sustainable FuturesGlobal institutions such as the United Nations, WorldHealth Organization and World Bank have publishedstatistics on China’s urban environmental damage andconsumption patterns that point towards loomingecological disasters and energy shortages. Sixteen of the20 most polluted cities in the world are now in China. By2020 the country is expected to be the world’s largest oilconsumer; it is already one of the largest consumers of 15water and also the largest waste generator. China facesinsurmountable challenges that require a paradigm shiftin the way it builds its cities and consumes energy asurbanised populations are sure to grow in scale andproportion of available land (see pp 72–3, Kyong Park).Signs of China’s recent commitment have beendemonstrated in the 2003 comprehensive sustainabledevelopment policies launched by the State Developmentand Reform Commission (following Beijing’s pledge in2001 to host a greener Olympics) and the setting up ofthe Ministry of Environmental Protection at the 2008National Peoples Congress (NPC) as one of the five new‘Super Ministries’. Urban spectacles in China are symbols of power and status, as China has since begun to experiment with some of the well as being tourist attractions. Beijing has created an originalmost advanced ideas in sustainable design, such as spectacular architecture with its ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic Stadium. And in Shenzhen we find surreal urban spectacles such as aArup’s near zero-carbon emission eco-city of Dongtan, scaled-down San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge among luxurynear Shanghai (see pp 64–9, Helen Castle, ‘Dongtan, residences next to replicas of world monuments.China’s Flagship Eco-city: An interview with Peter Head of12
Arup’). Another radical new city under planning and models could be speculated here for urban China’s future cities: theconstruction is Guangming New City (the Chinese name CCTV Headquarters designed by Rem Koolhaas, and 20 high-risetranslates as ‘radiant’), spearheaded by the Shenzhen towers and three villas designed by Riken Yamamoto for the JianwaiPlanning Bureau as a ‘new radiant city’ for China pushing SOHO residential business district, both in Beijing. These large-scaleexperimental planning concepts, sustainable design and iconic structures accommodate self-contained, 24-hour globalised 16high-technology development. The Danish–Chinese communities. Guangming New City shows how high-density livingcollaboration on sustainable urban development in China can be combined with environmental development. Songgan’s newentitled ‘Co-Evolution’ won the Pavilion prize at the 2006 masterplan proposal by CUHK Urbanisation Studio (a project led byVenice Biennale where the project was exhibited.17 19 Laurence Liauw) attempts to resist the expiry of a typical PRDHowever, the above efforts at sustainable environments do factory town through typological transformations. URBANUS’ radicalnot yet deal with the problem of the inevitable expiry of a adaptation of a vernacular housing type from Fujian Provincemultitude of mono-type factory towns,18 especially in the similarly accommodates changes in use, providing low-cost socialPRD where production costs are rising and low-end housing for migrant workers.manufacturing is not economically sustainable. The 2008 earthquake tragedy in Sichuan Province, and devastating The possibility of the mass exodus of millions of spring snowstorms over the new year, have also created widespreadmigrant workers who have contributed to the destruction and the need to rebuild hundreds of thousands of buildingsdevelopment and wealth of these cities is a cause for and public infrastructure. This coming challenge offers a chance forserious concern among planning authorities, requiring authorities to rethink their planning strategies for affected communitiesthem to rethink the inflexible generic designs that in order to provide safer construction with better environmental controlcurrently proliferate in such towns. Four future urban and improved infrastructure in case of natural disasters. As new development in Chinese cities requires almost endless quantities of building materials and natural resources, China has begun to experiment with sustainable design approaches and materials recycling (top image). In response to central government’s introduction of sustainable development policies, Shenzhen city organised the ‘Global 500 Environmental Forum’ in 2002 (bottom image).13
After China: Exporting China It is conceivable that future Chinese cities could develop in fourDespite China’s urban prosperity today, some critics have possible directions.been asking ‘What happens After China?’… India, Russia, Top left: Rem Koolhaas’ CCTV Headquarters and Riken Yamamoto’s 20 proposal for the Jianwai SOHO residential business district, both inVietnam, Mexico? Three tenets of Chinese cities – Beijing, represent contemporary approaches to transforming iconicindustrialisation, modernisation and urbanisation – can structures into self-contained, 24-hour globalised communities.either happen in sequence as in the West, or sometimes Top right: The Guangming New City proposal by architects MVRDVoverlap in time. Globalisation of world cities has meant shows how high-density living can be combined with sustainable environmental development.that capital moves freely and rapidly around the world Bottom left: Songgan town’s new 2015 masterplan proposal byseeking returns on investment that could be insensitive to CUHK resists the future extinction of mono-type factory towns vialocal politics and culture. It is worth asking now some design flexibility and typological transformation of the urban plan. Bottom right: URBANUS’ adaptation of a vernacular housing typecritical questions of China’s seemingly unstoppable urban from Fujian Province mutates into low-cost housing that providesexpansion and gradual exporting of the effects of this basic accommodation for migrant workers and mixed-use publicurbanisation to other countries (see pp 70–81, Kyong amenities within the compound.Park, Laurence Liauw and Doreen Heng Liu, ‘After China,the World?’). Will the major players in China’s boomingcities start to operate beyond its borders? Will the Chineseprocess and pattern of urbanisation, especially SEZs, berepeated in other developing countries? Will global capitalmerely bring with it generic forms of urbanism that aretailored to China and re-exported as urban products, butnot culture? Will the Chinese urbanisation machineeventually run out of steam and be forced to export itsexcess production capacity overseas like factories do? Isthe Planned Economy and SEZs built from zero a uniqueChinese model that could be applied elsewhere in adifferent culture? Does utopian urban ambition care aboutthe future sustainability of society, and if not then how willone generation’s Utopia become another’s burden? If theworld is showing some signs of Sinofication while China isbeing globalised, then how will China generate its ownurban culture to become an empire of ideas again? Couldthe new Chinese urban taxonomies proposed by JiangJun21 (see also pp 16–21) spawn hybrids and interactionsin other urban cultures in years to come? Could theinformal urbanism that characterises China todayeventually become a cultural diaspora like that of Chinesemigrants working both within and outside their owncountry? Doreen Heng Liu (see pp 18–81) takes us backto the ‘generic cities’ of the PRD22 where it all started 30years ago, claiming that Deng Xiaoping could be China’s‘New Urbanist’. She suggests that it is the fearless‘ideology’ of the PRD with its scenarios of expiry andrebirth that is the truly exportable urban concept, but onlyif this product of the new city becomes cultivated. (Thistheme was recently investigated in the Ma Qingyun- Farmland in the Pearl River Delta sits among ancurated 2007 Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and urbanised landscape of factories and urban villages thatUrbanism, ‘COER’ – as city of expiry and regeneration.)23 eventually become towns of up to a million people. Numerous PRD factory towns (such as Songgan, shownThus the main essays of this issue of AD end where new here) specialise in a single or just a few manufacturedurban China started – in Southern China’s Pearl River products, causing serious environmental pollution. AsDelta – where an open lab of urban experimentation over rising wages cause a decline in the competitiveness ofthe past 30 years has brought about China’s ‘real leap PRD industries, the survival of these Southern China boom towns is now under threat.forward’ and allowed ‘a hundred cities to bloom’. 414
The Taxonomy of ContemporaryChinese Cities (We Make Cities)A SamplingRem Koolhaas famously highlighted the uniformity of Chinesecities with his identification of ‘the generic city’ in the PearlRiver Delta in the 1990s. Here Jiang Jun, Editor-in-Chief ofUrban China magazine, and Kuang Xiaoming highlight the‘unified diversity’ and complexity of contemporary urbanismthrough his own system of classification. The official logo of Urban China magazine represents its ambition, through its publications and activities, to interpret ‘Chinese characteristics’ and ‘Chinese-ness’ as its copyright. Migration City This is a city with a mobileUnified Diversity and the Urban Knowledge Tree population, or a ‘city on the moveIn order to classify Chinese cities, it is necessary to recognise that this ‘Chinese-ness’ has to with the people inhabiting it’. There is either an attraction here or abe balanced out between two extremes: firstly the size of China’s territory and the length of its driving force elsewhere to keep thehistory, which have generated considerable diversity; secondly, the power that governs this city/people moving; thus it is aboutdiversity, which has always been highly centralised. (Hierarchical rule represents a significant the dynamic inequality between both ends of the migration, as welltradition for Chinese civilisation, but also an ideological inertia.) Behind this ‘unified diversity’ as the insertion of an alternativeis the Chinese philosophy ‘seeking common ground, while allowing for minor differences’. This content (people) into anotheris as deeply embedded in the minds of Chinese people as the space of Chinese cities context (city).themselves. It enables an urban taxonomy in which the Darwinian model of hierarchy of thespecies can be introduced to map out the origin of Chinese cities. The differentiations in the functioning of cities are an upshot of the distribution of themacro-planned administrative structure. It is also a matter of self-evolution in the competitionfor the ‘survival of the fittest’. The knowledge tree behaves like a ‘general map’ of thetaxonomy of contemporary Chinese cities and reveals the interrelationships between them inthe form of the network they weave within their common Chinese context. It is not ageographical map but a knowledge tree that analyses and defines the complexity of Chinesecities, so that the visible and the invisible, reality and super-reality, modern and pre-modern,structure and superstructure are able to share a common platform. Every node in the map (likehypertext links) becomes a collection point for common strands. The taxonomy ofcontemporary Chinese cities weaves a panorama of diverse contexts through an unravelling ofthis hypertext, just like the Darwinian taxonomy of biological systems. This urban taxonomycould pave the way for an ‘urbanology of new urban China’.16
Macro-Planning Centralism in government always leads to the prioritisation of planning in the urbanisation process. When planning is top-down beyond the city itself, it becomes ‘macro-planning’. China’s planning has been projected at a national strategic level both in feudal times and under communist rule. The configuration of urban policy has been determined either through social institutions from Confucian ideology (which for elders and social superiors was a major tenet) or as administrative commands through government sanctioned by ‘red-titled file’ directives from the Planned Economy. The city in feudal times was developed through a ‘courtyard house’ model designated by the emperor, and in socialist times it was developed through a ‘workshop model’ designated by national industries. As the Chinese city was not a city with its own civil independence, it is necessary to define the macro-planned Chinese city within its social and physical context.Map of Zhejiang Province, which borders Shanghai, showing thenumerous entrepreneurial, self-organised one-product towns – thosewhich focus on the manufacture of one product only and occupy alarge share of the market for that particular product.Hi-ChinaUrban China’s Hi-China (a generaltaxonomy) is a database of surveys of 100Chinese cities that includes more than500,000 photographs. It is also a generaldirectory that is intended to operate as awhole, reflecting the multiplicity ofChinese cities and offering the mostefficient way of managing, and searchingfor them. Not only can this genericdirectory instantly classify the largenumbers of images from each city, it alsogenerates links between the differentcities by recognising the parallelrelationships between them, such as theurban activities of dwelling, producingand consuming. As the subdirectories ofall levels are simultaneously a series ofindependent urban projects, Hi-China isgradually evolving into a ‘project ofprojects’, in which each project can belinked to all those cities that share thesame segments of knowledge. In thisway the invisibility of order is indicatedby the visibility of the phenomenon: thesuper-reality is constructed by theordinary and trivial reality.17
Special Economic Zone (SEZ) The SEZs were the first Chinese coastal cities to be shaped by market reform in the early 1980s through market-driven, instead of politically motivated, development. Their geographical locations demonstrate the clear ambition to attract foreign investment. However, the benefits they received in terms of preferential policy have been weakened in recent years with the further opening up of the hinterland cities. Shown here is a famous street poster depicting Deng Xiaoping’s reforms for Shenzhen.Boom–BustThe Open Door signals that Deng Xiaoping communicatedthrough his second tour of Southern China in 1992, when hevisited Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shanghai makingspeeches that reasserted his reformist economic policies, weresoon taken up by the whole country. One after another, almostevery city started to build its own small ‘Special Economic Zone’(SEZ). These ‘development zones’ generated important taxrevenues. Ironically, in the mid-1990s China’s largest economiczone, Hainan, lost its leading position in an economic bubblecreated by the real-estate market, and became a failedexperiment – a ‘rotten-tail city’ with thousands of square metresof unfinished building sites. However, the ‘Hainan Lesson’ didnot spread across the whole country like the successful Rotten-Tail City‘Shenzhen Experience’ did. Obviously, with development zones This is when a city-making movement is frozen by the collapse offlourishing throughout the country, some cities became ‘little the economic ecosystem during a bubble economy. Enough half- constructed buildings and infrastructure litters the urban landscapeShenzhens’, while some others inevitably became ‘little Hainans’. to make it the city incomplete.This only goes to show the double-edged effect of an ‘informaleconomy’ based on market principles with loose governance. ‘Chinese characteristics’ mark the localisation of Marxism and Leninism, which were introduced from the Western world at the beginning of the last century and were interpreted first into the context of Maoism, and later the reformist theories of Deng Xiaoping. Shenzhen is waving farewell to its adolescence after 30 years of successful rapid development, gradually transforming from a hot-blooded and impulsive SEZ into a more rational and mature city. Shown here is the cover of the Urban China Special Issue on Regenerating Shenzhen (Issue 24, 2007).18
Collective SpaceTo unify urban diversities is to introduce the generic intothe specific. Macro-planning deploys the state’s genericurban programmes and planning structure across theborders of individual regions. Once the prototype of thecity is set up as a developing model, it can be generalisedthrough a centrally managed system. As the genesis ofmost cities was created under the same patriarchalsystem, similar forms of urban living and functioningoperations – both mass-produced – could be easily foundeven among distant and dissimilar cities. So in thesedifferent cities, parallel lives of sameness can be regardedas taking place in a self-organising way. The spatialstructure of these generic cities mutates with time, whilethe parallelity of similar lives and urban activities inbetween them can be seen as a collective heritage fromthe socialist policies of the past. In this regard, thetaxonomy of Chinese cities becomes legible as a universalsubdirectory that is based on a generic spatial structure. Once a self-sufficient and isolated island China despite its recent ambitious globalisation process, remains deeply affected by colonialism, communism, global industrial transfer and the financial markets. Globalisation is diluting China’s ‘uniqueness’ (its national character), and this is being replaced with homogeneous parallel universes of urban phenomena co-existing simultaneously both in China and in certain countries abroad (communism, the Great Leap Forward, science cities, instant cities, the People’s Commune, shrinking cities, mega-dams, Olympic cities and so on), reflecting the parallelity of China’s collective fate with that of the rest of the world. Shown here is the cover of the Urban China Special Issue on the Parallel Universe (Issue 26, 2008).Deconstructed CityThe reverse action (demolition) of city-making is actually a preparation for Generic Modelconstructing the city. ‘The constructed’ As contemporary Chinese cities can be regarded as sharing a commonthat replaces ‘the demolished’ with newcontent needs to match the original value structure of space and time, a generic model can be set up to categoriseof the targeted demolished urban sites but any of these types of cities. The Modernist classification of urbanwith new added values. This is a so- activities – living, working, shopping and transporting – is still feasiblecalled ‘victory’ of the purely economicvalue of new zoning plans compared to in configuring a triangular circulation model, while the ‘Chinesethe historic value of the existing characteristic’ of the administration-oriented city-making model isarchitecture and urban fabric. emphasised by the CCU (central controlling unit) in the political core. Public spaces and social services, provided either by the government or by society, are distributed in between. The dimension of politicised urban timelines – feudalism, colonialism, socialism and post-socialism – influences stacked layers of the whole city structure, thereby acting as a counterforce of ‘tabula rasa Modernism’. A generic urban model is an all-inclusive envelope for a number of cities to be interconnected node- to-node, integrating them into a hyper-system of cities.19
Overwritten Time Over the last century, the revolution/reformation of Chinese modernisation has left at least four gradual stages that articulate the Zeitgeist in the ‘dynastic history’ of Chinese cities: feudalism, colonialism, socialism and post- socialism. Time, as another dimension, provides multiple layers of spatial structure. It is a game of overwritten times and a battle of mutated Zeitgeists. Taxonomy of urban space is also archaeology of time. Each category of space is stacked within the coexistence of old and new, the collision between the ‘Brave New World’ and Modernism, and the regeneration of the old within the new.Factory-Product CityThis is a mono-type city that revolves aroundthe manufacture of a certain group ofproducts. The urban lifeline is also theproduct line, and the inhabitants are theworkers, who with their families work on thesame type of products. In the recent wave of Micro-Society and Self-Centered Urbanismurbanisation this has become the most Diversity comes from asymmetric developments in the various stages of evolution. Acommon type of city generation. A mono-type city is producing, while the city itself is single node of a city can be complex enough to be an independent micro-society, foralso being produced by a specific product. It example a slum area as an enclave or as an industrial ‘factory-product city’ – a localeither has an integrated production line, or is part becomes the actual whole. The logic of fractal science could be applied here towithin a region with a larger production generate an urban subdirectory mirroring the structure of the root directory of theframework. A factory-product city is alwaysidentified with its product, expanding and whole city, which is sometimes not much more than the subdirectory itself. Becauseshrinking physically with export-market of the correspondence between the local part and the actual whole, a node-to-nodefluctuations elsewhere in the world. mirror image of a certain city part can be set up for taxonomic comparison. Micro-society provides the potential for local metropolitan areas to gain the integrity of a city and become the city itself. As the multidimensionality of China provides a spectrum of city typologies, there are always extreme cases in which a new urbanism can evolve from anywhere and almost anything: a sleeping dormitory city, army city, factory city, port city, shopping city, immigrant city’, ‘university city’, theme park city, ‘event city’, ‘village city’, ‘geometric city’ or even a construction-site city. It is not the extremeness of each single case, but the overall balance of the urban ecological system in which every starting point has the potential to be the centre that constitutes a taxonomy of Chinese cities. University City This city is formed out of a single university, or several universities clustered together on one site. It has the usual functions to match the integrated composition of an entire city. The consumption of its population, as well as the magnetic pull of its national and international cultural economy, make it an important governmental gambling chip for the catalytic development of a new, much larger- scale city around the university.20
The Institutional and Political Background to Chinese Urbanisation Chinese cities have a very distinct history defined by their relationship to government and the land. Under imperial rule they served as administrative centres for rural agricultural areas that took precedence, economically and politically. Professor Sun Shiwen of Tongji University, Shanghai, describes how today’s urbanisation process is still informed by the city’s uniquely Chinese characteristics. Old city streets of Shanghai compete and coexist with new developments.22
The notion of what constitutes a city in China is very different to that of the West. This relates back to imperial rule before the 20th century when the foundation of Chinese cities was based on the needs of the administrative system of government. Cities were founded only where primary government was, and the size of a city was entirely dependent on the classification of the government. When a city was formed, administration offices and city walls were built first; the government offices being at the centre of the city. Rich families of merchants and administrative officials of the imperial court would be moved in nearby, and service industries as required, so people with skills became part of the city. The Chinese city was firstly an administrative centre on which consumption depended, with incomes being drawn from farming the land. It belonged to the wealthy citizens such as administrative officers, merchant traders, and noblemen and their extended families, who strictly controlled it behind its walls, keeping most of the people from outside away. Economically speaking there were more people who lived off agriculture in the countryside, thus rural areas played an important role in the provision of food and income tax. They contributed to the steadiness and security of the nation. As a result, the government at all levels paid more attention to rural areas. Methods of management that emerged in the development of agriculture were often applied directly to the city during imperial periods prior to the 20th century, an effect that continues to the present day. When Chinese people refer to ‘chengshi’ (‘city’ in the Chinese language), the administrative area includes not only city areas (in the Western sense), but also extensive rural areas under the same administration. Thus methods of urban management, even since the 1950s, such as the organisation of massive shifts in China’s government policies, are similar to large group exercises in the rural agricultural fields. China’s very distinct, historical urban model has meant that it has also urbanised in a very different way to the West. For example, while large numbers of people have moved to the city from rural areasAn inner-city construction sitewithin the demolished old city (cities such as Shanghai or Shenzhen now have populations of morefabric, Shanghai. than 18 million and 12 million and rising, up from around 12 million and 5 million a decade ago), they are still not registered as citizens in governmental or urban statistics; instead, they are treated as a special group of ‘migrant workers’. Most of those who migrate to theMost of those who migrate to the city from the countryside do not become city dwellers. Consequently,city from the countryside do not they move from one city to another, and after several years they return to their native land in the countryside. Despite this, the number ofbecome city dwellers. registered city dwellers is growing dramatically; what officialConsequently, they move from one statistics cannot reveal is the number of people on the move, which would have a large impact on the official urbanisation rate.city to another, and after severalyears they return to their nativeland in the countryside.23
Hukou Census Registers China’s current policy of issuing census registers, or hukou (household accounts), evolved from a population management system established in the 1950s to meet the demands for control of the Communist Party’s Planned Economy, a system whereby the entire population was divided into two non-interchangeable groups: rural hukou and non-rural hukou (registered ‘citizens’). Under the Planned Economy, the rural lived in the countryside and made a living by themselves, while the non-rural lived in cities, with daily necessities supplied by the nation in the form of commodity rations. The marketisation and Open Door policies introduced by China’s leader, Deng Xiaoping, from 1978 and throughout the 1980s did not change the established policy of the census register. Though there were no longer restrictions on peasants coming to the city for work, their activities in urban areas were still circumscribed by their Migrant labourers and the newly built city, Shanghai. classification as the ‘rural population’. They were not afforded the same welfare benefits and public services as citizens, and were still treated as ‘migrant’ or ‘peasant’ workers. Currently, the number of this ‘floating population’ nationwide is estimated between 140 million and 200 million; it is largely concentrated in eastern coastal cities as well as other major metropolitan areas. Cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have more than 3 million migrant workers, while in Shenzhen the number is close to 5 million. The official urbanisation rate is the ratio of registered urban citizens to the whole population, which discounts those who live and work in the city without being included in the census register. Since the late 1990s, a new classification of ‘permanent resident’ has been introduced for those who have worked and lived in the city for more than six months. According to the census of 2000, the national urbanisation rate was 36.22 per cent, though this would be considerably higher if it were to include rural newcomers to the city. Public participation in urban planning, Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province. Government Administrative Management In the past, the system of Chinese government administrative management has tended towards centralisation. The Open Door policies of the 1980s, however, introduced a process of decentralisation, giving local government a wider range of powers. Although the central government still plays a major role in macro- control policy and the coordination of large industries and utilities, most local governments can now choose their own urban development types and real-estate development in cities. The general plans of large cities must still be approved by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, though local authorities can govern planning implementation. Central government controls the developmental activities in rural areas rigidly, especially in terms of protecting cultivated land. Chinese urban policy is determined by the nation’s executive, NPC (National People’s Congress) and CPPC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) live televised event, 2008. which is made up of provinces, municipalities and autonomous Major central government policies are decided and announced at this regions. Municipalities are part of the organisational system of a city, event to the entire country, and set in motion actions from various but have the same power as a province. Provinces and autonomous Chinese authorities at all levels. regions are composed of cities and autonomous prefectures,24